Recap of Designspeaks with The Official Manufacturing Company
This recap of AIGA’s Designspeaks event was written by Shawna Harch, Communications Committee Member. 
An impressively long line of design aficionados wrapped around the corner of the Ace Hotel on Thursday night, in anticipation of AIGA’s Designspeaks event with The Official Manufacturing Company. It marked the first time self-proclaimed “thing makers” Mathew Foster, Fritz Mesenbrink and Jeremy Pelly publically shared their seven-step formula for ditching the traditional work world and starting their own “thing.” In the words of Aaron Draplin, “These guys prove you can make a living in Portland and not have to pretend to like [insert your least favorite, soul-sucking brand giant here].”
Dressed the part in one-piece workman coveralls, the three down-to-earth innovators divulged the following “Seven Steps to Making it Official”:

Don’t lie down on the job. Bust your ass – even if the job is more than you initially bargained for.

  1. Steal inspiration from everything. Open your eyes. Be receptive to the unexpected. Remember that it’s not about where you take things from but where you take things to.
  2. Don’t cheat yourself by faking it. Start from scratch and make it exactly right on your own. It’s more fun anyways.
  3. Kill your ego and fear of failure. Listen to each other and collaborate.
  4. Fuck haters. Trust your gut and partners.
  5. Say yes and drink the potion. Try something new. You never know where you’ll end up.
  6. Know that accolades are smoke and mirrors. Don’t let praise go to your head.
In a nutshell? Anything is possible. Don’t hesitate to do something – just jump in and get started. Explore unlikely combinations of old elements to form new ideas. Ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Make it up as you go along. After all, that’s how these “very talented tradeshow-booth-crate-building, hand-letterform-painting, sign-making, typeface-designing, company-starting, bar-opening, t-shirt-selling, commercial-producing and high-caliber-event-speaking creatives” got here in the first place.*
So please comment and tell us – what are you making? Where do you go for inspiration? Is there a step you would add to the list above?
*These beautiful words were borrowed from Megan Clark’s recap of this very same event.
By aigaportland
Published October 6, 2010
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